Patriots Re-Sign Gostkowski to Four-Year Deal

The Patriots and Stephen Gostkowski waited until the last day franchise-tendered free agents could work out a long-term deal, but they got it done. Gostkowski will be the highest paid kicker in football and New England will retain the best overall kicker in the NFL.

When it comes to kicker contracts in New England, things don't seem to work out as easily as some may think. New England has no fear of placing the franchise tag on players, even kickers, if they feel the player is indispensable and an absolute need for the NEXT season. It isn't a guarantee that the Patriots will keep you beyond that one year, as we saw with future Hall-of-Famer Adam Vinatieri, but in this case, New England saw Gostkowski as being worthy of a long-term deal and paid him accordingly. Gostkowski is coming off a season where he was rated first in the league with 35 field goals in 37 attempts. Gostkowski was 13-14 from 40 plus yards out, an impressive statistic considering he kicks in the swirling winds of Foxboro.

Gostkowski, who is 31, was a 4th Round Pick in the 2006 NFL Draft out of the University Of Memphis. He has been named to the Pro Bowl three times and was All-Pro once. Gostkowski was injured in 2010, only playing in eight games, but every other year he has been his reliable self, playing in all 16 games eight of nine seasons. Gostkowski has connected on 243 career field goals on 280 attempts, which currently places his field goal percentage at 86.8%. Gostkowski missed one extra point attempt as a rookie, putting him at 450-451; that must annoy him to this day.

The Patriots were the team that introduced the changes in extra points to make it harder, and one of the reasons they did is because they have a trustworthy, strong-legged kicker that shouldn't have any issues with the changes. Gostkowski also is great when kicking off, kicking 53 touchbacks out of 99 attempts. The Patriots gambled in 2006 when they let Vinatieri go and drafted Gostkowski, but the gamble has worked out as well as the Patriots could have hoped for, and now the former Tiger gets to kick for the Patriots for at least another four seasons.

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